Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to create a statewide committee to investigate “any and all wrongdoing in Florida with respect to Covid-19 vaccines,” which he claims could pose health risks.
The governor said he’s launching a public health integrity committee to counter the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which DeSantis said is “not serving a useful function; it’s really serving to advance narratives rather than to do evidence-based medicine.”
The committee’s duties would include looking into any possible “criminal and wrongful activity” related to the creation, promotion or distribution of the Covid vaccine.
The committee would assess guidance and actions from federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC.
DeSantis is considered a likely GOP contendender in the 2024 Presidential race and has been positioning himself to the right of former President Trump, who’s running for reelection and was in office when the vaccines were developed.
The investigation was announced during a roundtable DeSantis led on Tuesday, during which Florida’s Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo pointed to examples of the vaccine causing myocarditis—inflammation of the heart. He said pharmaceutical companies needed to provide more data to independent researchers so that further study can be done on the vaccines’ side effects.
Instances of myocarditis are rare in mRNA vaccines like the Covid shot, although they are more likely to occur in young men.
Following large-scale clinical trials, the FDA authorized the vaccine for people 6 months and older, and the CDC continues to recommend them.
Analysis released Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund and the Yale School of Public Health estimated that Covid-19 vaccines prevented more than 3.2 million deaths and 18.5 million hospitalizations in the U.S. and saved more than $1.15 trillion in medical costs.